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Posts Tagged ‘The Writer’s Chapbook edited by George Plimpton’

“plot” in The Writer’s Chapbook edited by George Plimpton

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 13, 2007

·     E.L. Doctorow … as the book goes on it becomes inevitable … choices narrow … the thing picks up speed  ·     Truman Capote … what I am trying to achieve is a voice sitting by a fireplace telling you a story on a winter’s evening  ·     Isak Dinesen … I start with a kind of feeling of the story I will write … then come the characters and they take over, they make the story  ·     John Irving … how can you plot a novel if you don’t know the ending first? how can you introduce a character if you don’t know how he ends up?  ·     Norman Mailer …generally, I don’t even have a plot … my characters engage in action, and out of that action little bits of plot sometimes adhere to the narrative (I don’t believe him, he’s just shooting off his mouth·     John Mortimer … the plot and discipline of the crime novel save it from terrible traps of being sensitive and stream-of-consciousness and all that stuff … life is composed of plots  ·     James Thurber … we’ve got all these people (in our story), now what’s going to happen … I don’t know until I start to write and find out … I don’t believe the writer should know too much of where he’s going  ·     William Kennedy … if I knew at the beginning how the book was going to end, I would probably never finish … I knew Legs Diamond was going to die at the end of the book, so I killed him on page one 

 

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“pace” The Writer’s Chapbook edited by George Plimpton

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 13, 2007

 

·     Ernest Hemingway … I have tried to eliminate everything unnecessary to conveying experience to the reader. Anything you know, you can eliminate. But … if you omit something because you don’t know it, there’s a hole in your story.  ·     James Baldwin … the goal is to write a sentence as “clean as a bone”  ·     Georges Simenon … I cut adjectives, adverbs and every word which is there just to make an effect. Every sentence which is there just for the sentence. You have a beautiful sentence – cut it.  ·     Elie Wiesel … I reduce 900 pages to 160 … writing is more like sculpture where you remove … you eliminate in order to make the work visible … there is a difference between a book which is 200 pages from the beginning and a book of 200 pages which began as 800 pages … the pages you remove are really there – only you don’t see them

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“character” in The Writer’s Chapbook edited by George Plimpton

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 13, 2007

·     Eudora Welty … You can’t start with how people look and speak and behave and come to know how they feel. You must know exactly what’s in their hearts and minds before they ever set visible foot on the stage. You must know all, then not tell it all, or not tell too much all at once; simply the right thing at the right moment.  ·     Samuel Butler … the Ancient Mariner would not have taken so well if it had been called The Old Sailor·     Kurt Vonnegut … make your characters want something – right away  ·     E.M. Forster … human beings have their great chance in the novel  ·     John Gardner … the first thing that makes a reader read a book is the characters  ·     Lillian Hellman … I don’t think characters turn out the way you think they are going to turn out  ·     Aldous Huxley … fictional characters are much less complex than the people one knows  ·     William Kennedy … what moves you forward to the next page is wondering why he or she acted in this particular way … what’s most interesting is not the plot … the character does something new, and then the story begins to percolate  ·     Norman Mailer … what’s exciting is the creative act of allowing your characters to grow … to become more complex … then a character becomes a being, and a being is someone whose nature keeps shifting  ·     Francois Mauriac … you may start with a real person, but he changes … only the secondary characters (undeveloped, the ones who don’t grow) are taken directly from life  ·     William Styron … I try to make all of my characters “round” … it takes a Dickens to make “flat” characters come alive  ·     William Trevor … fiction writers remember tiny little details, some of them quite malicious  ·     Norman Mailer … one’s ignorance is part of one’s creation. If you’re creating a character whose knowledge of a subject is spotty, then perhaps your own spotty knowledge is a plus (I don’t think so).

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“beginnings” in The Writer’s Chapbook edited by George Plimpton

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 13, 2007

 

·     Joan Didion … What’s so hard about the first sentence is that you’re stuck with it.  ·     Gabriel Garcia Marquez … One of the most difficult things is the first paragraph. I have spent many months on a first paragraph. In the first paragraph, you solve most of the problems with your book. The theme is defined, the style, the tone.  ·     Philip Roth … I often have to write a hundred pages or so before there’s a paragraph that’s alive. That then becomes the first paragraph of the book. Underline all the sentences, phrases, words that are alive. write them on one piece of paper. there’s your first page. the “aliveness” sets the tone.

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